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Taking advantage of technology

by Cyndi Zagieboylo

Cyndi Zagieboylo, President & CEO

Technology surrounds us and can make a big and positive difference in everyday life, especially for people with disabilities. Advances in things like voice-recognition devices help people perform tasks that might be difficult, even impossible, to do otherwise. In this issue of Momentum, we explore how adaptive technology can help people live more independently, productively, creatively and safely (see “Vocal control”).

If we can do more on our own instead of needing to rely on someone else, we can spend more time on relationships and emotional connections rather than on providing and receiving care.

Of course, these new gadgets can be challenging to set up and frustrating to learn. So having the right expectations and planning for the time necessary to figure them out can help reduce that frustration. Knowing what resources are available to get through the learning curve is an important first step. Connecting with someone who has technology experience could be very helpful.

This issue also highlights the groundbreaking work of Dr. Alan Thompson in progressive multiple sclerosis. Dr. Thompson, dean of the University College London Faculty of Brain Sciences, is the winner of the 2017 John Dystel Prize for MS research. His remarkable achievements spanning 35 years of work in the treatment and care of people with MS are detailed in our story, “Modern approaches.”

Dr. Thompson is a wonderful volunteer partner in our International Progressive MS Alliance work where we, the United States’ National MS Society, are the lead agency. Dr. Thompson chairs the scientific steering committee and together with the executive committee, the Alliance ensures global collaboration to end progressive MS (see progressivemsalliance.org). More treatments are urgently needed for progressive MS, and finding answers to progressive forms of this disease accelerates progress toward a world free of all forms of MS.

There are lots of important topics in this issue of Momentum. I hope you find it useful and supportive. Let me know what you think! When I hear from you, it helps us know what you think of your National MS Society. Your input on any topic as well as your ideas about how you can be more engaged and connected to the Society is valued and helpful. For this issue, I’m most interested to hear about the value of technology in your life. What works for you and what doesn’t? How can we expand access to technology solutions to ensure people affected by MS can live their best lives?

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Cyndi Zagieboylo
President & CEO
National MS Society

Winter 2017-18

Let me know your thoughts. Email me at cyndi@nmss.org.

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